No Major Raiders Stadium Issues Solved, But the Stadium Pictures Were Pretty

By ALAN SNEL

 

There are some major issues facing the nine Las Vegas business leaders who sit on the Raiders stadium board.

 

But the stadium authority panel didn’t deal with the UNLV lease agreement at the Raiders’ 65,000-seat domed stadium during Thursday’s 3 1/2-hour session.

 

The members also didn’t hear much from the Raiders about how the NFL team will handle the parking for the $1.9 billion palatial playground at the 62-acre site at Russell Road and Polaris Avenue . Clark County requires more than 16,000 parking spaces on the site where 65,000 folks are going to show up, but the Raiders only have about 3,000 spaces. Uh-oh.

 

Raiders President Marc Badain and fellow team representatives talk about their stadium to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board.

 

The Raiders are building and managing the stadium. The stadium authority will own the place, but it’s the football team that is calling the shots in terms of building the venue and operating it.

 

Another unresolved issue is something called the stadium’s “community benefits plan” — a lofty ideal built into the state legislation that pledged $750 million to the Raiders for the $1.8 billion stadium project. The board has to figure exactly what does a community benefits plan include and how will the community measure the extent to which the stadium will help small and minority-owned businesses and contractors. A local union, Laborers 872, doesn’t want the Raiders to pay into a benefits plan, but stadium board Chairman Steve Hill believes the plan needs some minority hiring goals (not mandates) to aspire to.

 

Here’s Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak, who thinks the Raiders will do good things for the community and doesn’t need to contribute any money into a community benefits plan .

 

No, the stadium board didn’t make strides in solving those UNLV, parking or community benefits plan issues.

 

Instead, they watched a promotional stadium video that Raiders executives played, enjoyed a slide show showing pictures of the sleek, modern-looking stadium and listened to a Bank of America executive explain how the Raiders and the stadium board will pay for the impressive football stadium project.

 

UNLV is negotiating with the Raiders on renting the stadium for about half-dozen football games a year. That joint-use deal includes all types of issues, such as who gets the revenues, how will UNLV display sponsor signage and what type of playing surface will the Rebels’ football team use.

 

The stadium board will get back to you on that UNLV deal. The Board members can only approve a UNLV jount-use deal after the Nevada Board of Regents gives it the green light.

 

Then, there’s the Raiders’ parking shortage — just 13,000 parking spaces shy of meeting the county’s standard.

 

The Raiders are talking with the Bali Hai Golf Club about buying its site on Las Vegas Boulevard on the opposite side of the interstate, just south of Russell Road. The Rasiders believe there’s parking for 13,000 cars at the gold course site, which is owned by McCarran International Airport and leased to Walters Golf. At one time, the Bali Hai was considered as a possible stadium site before the Raiders stadium.

 

 

The Raiders are already drilling for soil samples and water at their 62-acre site on the west side of I-15, off Russell Road along Polaris Avenue.

 

“The parking solution hasn’t been finalized, but it’s always at the top of our minds,” said Don Webb, chief operating officer of the Raiders stadium development arm. “It will be solved before game day.”

 

Stadium board member Bill Hornbuckle, MGM Resorts International president, had the most relevant thing to say on parking when he mentioned how can the board vote on the stadium agreement when parking is not resolved.

 

Webb said the 31-month construction schedule will include overlapping phases of work that will result in four years worth of construction compressed into three years. A tray of grass will be rolled into the stadium for the Raiders playing surface.

 

 

And there will be a 150-foot-tall video mesh on the exterior on the east side of the stadium facing the interstate, while there will be three video boards around the venue.

 

Webb told LVSportsBiz.com after the meeting that the stadium design will reflect both the character of the Raiders and Las Vegas — fast, strong, sleek and sexy.

 

The Raiders are confident the stadium will be ready by 2020.

 

How will this stadium projected by funded? Well, the public is contributing $750 million from a hotel room fee increase of 88 cents for every room on the Strip. The public will actually have to raise $1.2 billion during the next 30 years to pay for the bonds that will be issued next year.

 

Besides the $750 million public subsidy, the NFL is kicking in $200 million and personal seat licenses (more than 50,400 deposits have been made) will generate another $250 million. Then, there’s the $600 million loan that the Raiders development arm is taking out. That’s $1.8 billion for the stadium project and the Raiders will spend another $100 million on its practice facility.

 

Contact LVSportsBiz.com founder/writer Alan Snel at asnel@LVSportsBiz.com

Alan Snel

Alan Snel brings decades of sports-business reporting experience to LVSportsBiz.com. Snel covered the business side of sports for the South Florida (Fort Lauderdale) Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and Las Vegas Review-Journal. As a city hall beat reporter, Snel also covered stadium deals in Denver and Seattle. In 2000, Snel launched a sport-business website for FoxSports.com called FoxSportsBiz.com. After reporting sports-business for the RJ, Snel wrote hard-hitting stories on the Raiders stadium for the Desert Companion magazine in Las Vegas and The Nevada Independent. Snel is also one of the top bicycle advocates in the country.

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